Two Triad mayors say cities need more direct funding amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Two Triad mayors have joined the call to lawmakers to provide more direct support to cities across the US.

Mayor Jay Wagner, of High Point, and Mayor Nancy Vaughan, of Greensboro, signed on to a letter from the United States Conference of Mayors asking for approval of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

“Our budgets took a huge direct hit, and we need some relief,” Mayor Vaughan said Friday.

She explained that cities with populations under 500,000 did not receive funds from the CARES Act but still had to shift costs to provide overtime pay to employees, PPE and emergency relief programs.

“What we had to do in this budget was shift funding. Money that we would have spent in housing on other things…long term housing. We had to shift to emergency short term housing. So we spent money in our budget, but we spent it differently,” Mayor Vaughan explained.

“Our unreimbursed costs are somewhere around $13 and a half million. Our annual general budget is around $100 million, so that tells you about the costs we’ve had,” Mayor Jay Wagner said.

Both cities lost events like the High Point Market or shows at the Greensboro Coliseum and Tanger Center.

With budget conversations already underway for the next fiscal year, Mayor Vaughan said it’s unclear how much money the city could receive under the proposed plan.

She said funds can help support emergency and long term housing and future growth.

“We want to prop up small businesses who are really the backbone of our economy, and we know they have been suffering,” Mayor Vaughan added.

A spokesperson for Representative Kathy Manning said they anticipate the House will vote to pass the American Rescue Plan later next week and then send it to the Senate.

A spokesperson for Representative Ted Budd said he would be able to discuss the debate before it came to a vote.

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